Rachel Smith and Bryan Eccleshall are Sheffield based artists engaged with ideas of language, process, and translation. Both artists have made work in public during residencies, while also exhibiting and publishing in more traditional ways. Decoding Grantchester Meadows is their first direct collaboration, though they have worked together as part of the Sheffield Guerrilla Writing collective.
In 1969 Roger Waters wrote the song Grantchester Meadows and it appeared on Pink Floyd’s Ummagumma LP. Rachel Smith and Bryan Eccleshall have turned a PDF file of the song’s lyrics into its underlying code. This has been processed by changing the extension of the file name from .pdf to .txt. When this re-named file is opened, it is a large document of numbers, letters and symbols rather than a small document with a few lines of comprehensible text. You can do this with jpegs as well, but if it’s a big file, don’t be surprised if your computer freezes. Do it at your own risk.
This publication accompanies the film Decoding Grantchester Meadows. In the film Smith and Eccleshall read out the underlying ASCII code, in a vareity of locations including the Orchard Tea Garden and Grantchester Meadows in Cambridge. This taps into the spirit of experimentation present elsewhere on the Pink Floyd album as well as the crossover between conceptual writing and art.
‘...every image or bit of text on the Internet not only has its specific, unique place but also its unique time of appearance. Here, we do not refer so much to the digital image or text file itself, but rather to the digital data that remains identical through the process of its reproduction and distribution. But the image file is not an image–the image file is invisible. The digital image is an effect of the visualisation of the invisible image file, of the invisible digital data. Accordingly, a digital image cannot be merely copied (as an analog, mechanically reproducible image can) but always only newly staged or performed. Thus the image begins to function like a piece of music, whose score, quite obviously, is not identical to the piece–the score being inaudible, silent. One can therefore argue that digitalization turns visual arts into performing arts...’
Boris Groys. Monday Begins On Saturday. Bergen Assembly 2013, pp59–64. Sternberg Press, Berlin
The film and publication will be available during art:language:location festival in Cambridge during October
If you want to see an extract of the film follow the url: